I eat a lot of noodles doing what I do. And I’ll be the first to admit that I get “noodle fatigue” once in a while from all those bowls of slurpable carbs. Week after week of pho, ramen, chow fun, pad thai, and Taiwanese beef noodle soup can paralyze the palate. The obvious thing to do in this case is to avoid noodles for a spell. Or, you can fight noodle fatigue with noodles by eating tan tan (also dan dan) mein.
The Chinese created tan tan mein which, at its most basic, is composed of wheat noodles, fermented chili bean paste, peanut or sesame sauce (or both), and ground pork.
The Japanese also have a version using the noodle of the moment — ramen. Torrance’s Beni Tora located in the Mitsuwa Marketplace food court creates several varieties of tan tan mein, many of them are soup-based. But my preference for a more traditional variation directed me to the soupless tan tan mein.
A mound of pliant ramen is layered with a strata of flavors and textures including fried ground pork, fresh bean sprouts, black and white sesame seeds, creamy slabs of chasu pork, half a soy sauce egg, and chopped green onions.
The seasonings are just as rambunctious with chili oil, dried pepper flakes, a chopped white onion miso condiment, and, of course, peanut sauce bombarding the bowl with explosive flavors.
Designed to awaken your taste buds not with a nudge but with a wallop, this spicy, sweet, and savory bowl of noodles is guaranteed to bring your zombified mouth back from the dead, and then you can finally say sayonara to noodle fatigue.
Beni Tora, 21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, 310-320-8855.